Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Therese all snuggled up in the bassinet.
Whew! We went to church yesterday for Easter and that was quite an event for our newly changed family! Wish we had gotten more pictures...but I think we were just too tired. Therese is in the habit of being awake much of the night and sleeping nearly all day. Although last night she seemed to turn the corner--let's hope so!
By the way, Greta was born the Saturday before Easter and so was Therese! Strange coincidence!
Therese likes to lay and look at this blanket, I think because it's black and white. Thanks to Great Grandma Pulsipher for this blanket--she gave it to us when Greta was born!
The other night Greta displayed her first signs of jealousy: she was absolutely exhausted and saw me holding Therese and looked at me crossly pointing her finger and saying "No!" Poor thing! Usually she's very sweet with Therese, though, as is seen in this photo--she wanted to hold her.
Easter morning and Greta's first Easter Egg hunt around the house! Shortly after she got this basket all the jelly beans in the box fell all over the floor! Papa helped her clean it up and it took her longer than we expected to realize she had them all available to her and could just eat and eat them...soon she had mouthfuls of jelly beans!
Ooh, a chocolate bunny lollipop! Don't you just love Greta's bed-head?
She loves to say "Found it!"
Her mouth looks a bit full here :-)
Greta likes to do "baby" things like Therese. Here she has decided to get her blanket and join sister on the couch.
On Saturday we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at our old church. Greta had a great time!

Therese's first outing in the Baby Bjorn carrier--we used this all the time with Greta! So far Therese seems to like it too. The other day we all ventured to the park down the street. It was fun to see neighbors and show off our new baby girl :-)
Doing "baby" things again! She likes to hold Therese's baby toy from Nana Judy and cover herself up in the receiving blanket.
Sleeping on the couch.

Stories before bed.

What a cute little face!

Oh little baby...
Greta is really into what she calls "work the railroad!" She knows the song "Working on the railroad" and has somehow associated it with when Matthew works at his computer. He helped her type at his computer not too long ago and now she often requests to "work the railroad!!!" Often this involves typing words and then finding Pooh related pictures to print off and color--as you see her doing here.

I love this picture! So sweet.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Week Ago

Last Saturday, when I went into labor, we were blessed to have Greta's nanny Linda available to look after Greta for a bit while we waited for Nana Kaka. I think Greta ended up having one of the best weekends of her life so far! She loves Linda and had been missing her, and of course she loves Nana Kaka too.
Here are some photos of her time with Nana Kaka and Aunt Jenny.
Above: eating ice cream at White Spot! I think they went there TWICE and had french fries too!
Covered in jam at lunch--happy girl!
Having a special treat with Aunt Jenny--this picture is too cute!

Greta looks like such a big girl now that we have a little baby around. She treats Therese very well. Whenever Therese whimpers in the slightest bit Greta looks very concerned and says "Mama/Papa hold Teese!" She doesn't seem bothered by my nursing Therese--in fact she often demands that I do it more and thinks Therese must be hungry all the time! In the mornings or after nap Greta rushes out to the living room and says "Oh, hi Teese!" So far instead of seeming jealous of Therese, she is very protective of her instead. What a sweet girl she is :-) Oh, and she also tells me, "Mama small now", in reference to my belly being (mostly) gone--which I appreciate very much.

Therese Marie's Birth Story
Now, for those of you interested in birth stories, I will share Therese's here. As I seem to recall, Matthew told Greta's birth story on the blog. This time I have more of my wits about me and would love to tell the story of Therese's birth. It all started last Saturday with a fitful sleep that woke me with contractions at about 5:20 am. I lay in bed listening to the birds chirping, thinking "This is the day". Matthew had predicted on Friday that I would go into labor the next day, and he was right!

The contractions kept going for an hour, so I let the midwife on call know. She told me to wait and call her again when they got longer and more intense. We carried on with the morning, called Linda to have her come take care of Greta, and waited for labor to pick up the pace. By about 9:30 I called the midwife, Carole, again. After a short walk outside with Matthew Carole came over at around 11:30. I was so pleased to hear I was already 6 cm dilated! She said we could go to the hospital or wait it out at home a bit longer, but that she would now stay with us the rest of the time. So, we stayed home longer, as I was dreading being at the hospital.

I spent some time moving about, trying to make sure Therese descended in an optimal position, and also spent some time in the shower. However, once in the shower labor seemed to really pick up. I became discouraged and scared, thinking of what lie ahead for me--and had a bit of a crying "I can't do this" moment. I decided we'd better get the trip to the hospital over with, and we said our goodbyes to Greta and sped off to BC Women's. The ride there was intense, and I urgently told Matthew not to go over any bumps! He was sweet and managed to hold my hand through each contraction on the way there.

The transition to the hospital wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. Carole was already there when we arrived, which was very comforting. We settled into a room with a nice nurse, and I soon asked if I could please have some laughing gas available to "go to my head" during each contraction. The laughing gas doesn't take the pain away, doesn't effect the baby, and only lasts a few moments--but it sort of calms the mind as the pain reaches its most intense point. I had loved the gas with Greta and was glad to use it again. (Unfortunately I later remembered that after awhile it actually doesn't even help at all anymore, and I also later found out: you can't use it when you're pushing!)

Labor progressed on and on. Awhile after arriving to the hospital I was 8 cm dilated. Carole said she could break my waters to move it along more quickly, but that they were still pretty high, and breaking the bag early would increase the likelihood that the cord could wrap around baby's neck and lead to emergency procedures. I wasn't in that much of a hurry to risk it, so I declined. She had me up moving around and sitting in different positions, which was great. Matthew was on call for all my hand squeezing needs and he made sure to keep some good music going (I may not be able to listen to a certain Blossom Dearie album for quite some time...)

Soon Carole was confident it would be alright to break my waters. With that, labor really intensified. I had another crying "I can't do it" spell, and was worried that the contractions would start coming one on top of the other like they had with Greta. I had a particularly low moment, close to fully dilated, when I was yelling for something to take the pain away NOW!!! The laughing gas didn't do much of anything to help at this point, aside from the tube of it providing me something to bite on when the pain hit its peak. It is all very vivid in my mind: the look on Matthew's and the nurse's faces as I cried and demanded relief. I knew someone could come and take all the pain away just like that...but I also knew that I was so close to pushing that it was pretty pointless at that time and would just slow everything down and possibly lead to interventions I didn't want. Carole knew that too, and she knew how much I wanted this birth to be natural. She kept saying "Let's just get through another contraction, you're almost done--baby's doing so well and you are so strong!" and Matthew kept reminding me of how much I wanted to push this baby out all by myself! I was also encouraged knowing that Therese was descending well and was in a good position--Greta never descended and she was in a less than optimal position. Knowing that, and feeling so supported, really helped and soon I was ready to push.

I hadn't pushed at all with Greta, so I had no clue what it would be like. I had heard from others that it was easier and more satisfying than other parts of labor...NOT my opinion though!!! Wow, pushing was so hard! I guess it was relatively satisfying, because I was DOING something and getting more tangible results, but wow was it painful and tiring and I just felt like an animal with no inhibitions whatsoever! I pushed for an hour and a half and had a cheering squad of Matthew, Carole and our nurse Allison the whole time. I will never forget how Carole kept saying to me "It's ok, it's safe, it's safe"; that really helped. All of the sudden I could feel the head, then soon the head came out (YIKES that was crazy) and Carole said I'd probably only have to push through a couple more contractions and then she'd be out. Well the next contraction I pushed so hard and then all of the sudden they threw this baby up on top of my chest!!! I was shocked! I said "She's out??!!! I did it! I did it! Matthew I did it!" I don't even know how many times I said "I did it!"---sooooooo many. Therese's face was a bit blue, but her eyes were looking at me and soon she let out a small cry. I held her on me--all slimy and new--and we just snuggled for a bit. I felt absolutely no pain anymore (despite having a 3rd degree tear--4th degree is the worst, just to put it in perspective...)

A bragging point here that I just have to share...Carole told me I was so strong and she hadn't seem someone be that tough and push so hard in a long time. The other midwife I saw the next day said that Carole had told her that too--which made me really believe it and not just think "oh she's just saying that" :-)

Birthing Therese Marie was the proudest moment of my life and I will never ever forget it or let it fade away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

She's Here: Welcome Therese Marie!

After almost 15 hours of labor, Therese Marie made her way into the world at 8:09 pm, Saturday April 16, 2011.
Weight: 8 pounds 9 ounces
Height: 20 inches
Much deserved snuggles!
The proud papa!
So happy!
I felt so proud after it was all over! She came out completely naturally and it was so much work, but so worth it! All of the sudden it was over and there she was on my chest :-)
Carol was our midwife and she was amazing! In the blue is the nurse Allison who was there at the end--our other nurse was Joanne and her shift was over about an hour before the birth. Both nurses were awesome--and Carol our midwife was THE BEST! I am so thankful.
I had to go to the operating room for some stitches an hour or so after she was born, so Therese stayed with Papa for some skin to skin time (one nurse referred to it as "skin to shag carpet time"!) He sang songs to her and they snuggled. So sweet.

Greta looked so much like Matthew as a newborn (and still does), but I must say: Therese looks so much like me!!!

Little chubby baby!
The next day Greta came to the hospital with Nana Kaka and Grandpa Shayne. Here she is meeting sister Therese for the first time.
A kiss for sister.
"Oh Teese!" Greta kept saying! She had been waiting for this moment for so long and was very happy to finally meet her sister. However, she also kept talking about wanting to go outside and play at the park...she had been having a blast with Nana Kaka the last couple of days :-)
Oh I love this picture!

First bath at the hospital--Therese barely made a peep, she tolerated it all very well.

Not a fan of this part, though--so sucking on Papa's pinky sure helps! Greta loved to do that too :-)

Meeting Aunt Jenny.
With Nana Kaka.
With Aunt Jenny.

We will post more photos soon, and maybe get the birth story on here as well :-) Enjoy these for now! We are doing well and recovering slowly but surely. It is certainly much easier this time around and we are so happy to be a family of four!